While at Mahamuni Pagoda there is a good chance that you will see a small entourage following a well dressed small girl or boy. I did ask what was going on and it seems like once the boy or girl reaches a certain age a ceremony is carried out, something like a catholic Confirmation where the youngster is accepted as a Buddhist. I did not know who all the people were but i suspect the parents, some of the family and sponsors.
IF YOU ARE GOING BY TAXI SHOW THE DRIVER THIS : စန္ဒာမုနိစေတီ
Sandamuni Pagoda is comparable to Kuthodaw Pagoda which has 730 slabs with the Tripitaka engraved on them but here there are 1,774 slabs engraved with commentaries on the Tripikata scripture. The dazzling white stupas are almost in military type of formation and make for a great picture if you find the correct viewpoint.
In 1874 King Mindon Min commissioned the project as a memorial to his younger brother, Kanaung Mintha who was assassinated along with 3 princes during the 1866 rebellion. The pagoda contains the graves of several of the royal family and also an iron image of the Buddha cast by Bodawpaya in 1802. In 1874 Mindon removed the statue from Amarapura and weighs approximately 18,500 kgs. It is the largest cast iron image of Buddha in Burma and is known as the Sandamani Image and is covered with a layer of gold.
At Sandamuni Pagoda you can see 1,774 shrines that each contain a marble slab inscribed with Buddhist teachings. Each slab measuring 1.68 meters tall and 1.07 meters wide is enshrined in a small white shrine named Dhamma ceti. Dhamma means the teaching of Buddha while ceti is the Burmese word for stupa. Each slab is exactly 1.68 m tall and 1.07 m wide and the shrines are topped with a hti, an ornamental spire shaped like an umbrella. Very litlle space is left between the rows of stupas and it is more cramped compared to the nearby Kathodaw Pagoda that contains the world's biggest book. In 1913 by U Khanti the hermit, built the Dhamma cetis, a person known for the restoration work of temples and pagodas. I cannot imagine him erecting the whole lot in one year, unless he had many workers as it would mean building five each day of the year.
The Sandamani pagoda , ( named so because it contains the largest iron Buddha, the “Sandamani”, a statue weighting 18.562 metric tons frequently moving around because of wars and the shift of capitals in the nineteenth century”), is located to the southeast of Mandalay Hill and looks similar to nearby Kuthodaw pagoda because of the large number of slender whitewashed stupas on the grounds. The pagoda was erected on the location of King Mindon’s provisional palace.
It was built as a memorial to King Mindon’s younger half-brother Crown Prince Kanaung, who had helped him seize power from Pagan Min in 1853. Poor Crown Prince Kanaung was assassinated by 2 of Mindon’s sons who were disappointed being excluded from the succession. In 1874, King Mindon had the pagoda built near the graves of the Crown Prince .
Additionally there are 1774 marble slabs inscribed with Commentaries and Sub-commentaries on the Tipitaka (Pali spelling, or Tripitaka, in Sanskrit Each is 5.5 ft high 3.5 ft wide and .5 ft thick. The project and the housings of the slabs were the result of the successful campaign in 1913 by the famous Hermit of Mandalay Hill, U Khanti (or Kanti), who also designed the iron covered causeways and devotional halls and the book-like layout of the tablets. A renovation underwent in 1991: uncompleted stupas housing the slabs were completed and the existing ones were repaired. In addition, the tombs of the Crown Prince and the three princes were moved to a mausoleum.
This dense “forest of stupas is highly photogenic and very impressive to see. The gilded stupa follows the typical architectural style so there is nothing memorable in that.
This place is not yet included in the 10USD "combo ticket" (see seperate tip), but judging by the new entrance arch being built (see photo) it soon will be. Admittance is currently free with the usual donations welcome.
The central temple was built in memory of Prince Kanaung on the spot where he was killed during a bout of interneicene trouble in the late 19th century.
The primary attraction of the place must be the 1774 marble slabs, all inscribed with commentaries on the Tripitaka, which sre the Buddhist religious writings. The photo shows the intricacy of the work on each individual tablet.
Like most things in Mandalay, it is comparatively modern, having been built only in 1913, and although I haven't perhaps done it justice photographically, the place is extremely photogenic.
There are hundreds of white stupas on the grounds of this pagoda. It makes a nice contrast with Mandalay Hill in the background, and this is a good place to visit a couple of hours before sunset.
Sandamuni Pagoda was first built in 1874 as a memorial to Crown Prince Kanaung, who was assassinated in an attempted coup eight years earlier.
What in The Lonely Planet is called 'The biggest book in the world' consists of hundreds of little shrines. On each one is written a different chapter of a Buddhist holy book.
Together they form a most impressive sight
In Mandalay, you can pay for all the entrances (10 US$). I didn't do it that way because I only wanted to see this particular site. I payed 2000 Kyatts for this one
Here at Kuthodaw Paya you can see all of the 729 stupas. Each one houses a page of the World's Largest Book. Inside each one there is a marble slab that is an individual page from the Tripitaka. Apparantly it was translated to a paper edition in the early 1900's and it took 38 volumes at 400 pages each to fit it all.
That night after I got back to my Guest House I was glancing through my Lonely Planet Guide reading about Mandalay. I came a across Kuthodaw Paya in the book and was reading about The Worlds Biggest Book. Huh..I thought I went there today and how did I miss seeing the book!? I was very tired as I was reading as it was about 11:30 at night and I had come from Yangon on the night bus (18 hours) and hadn't slept since the day before. So I was thinking to myself that I wanted to go back to the Temple to see the Big Book!! hahaha But I had already seen it!